A former Fort Lewis College football player who shot two men, killing one, at the Iron Horse Inn last year was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years for second-degree murder and 15 years for felony burglary.
Tyree Ogsbury-Jones, 23, accepted his sentences, which are to run consecutively and also included a mandatory five years probation for each charge. He accepted the terms in a plea agreement signed in June.
In March 2015, Ogsbury-Jones and his friend, Aaron Williams, went to the home of Ogsbury-Jones’ former roommate, Brian Moore, then 53, at the Iron Horse at 5800 north Main Avenue.
A dispute over marijuana plants was said to be the cause of the shooting, but Ogsbury-Jones’ defense points to substance abuse and anxiety as contributing factors.
Ogsbury-Jones used a rifle to shoot Moore, who survived, and Moore’s roommate, Daniel Johnson, 50, who died from his wounds.
Williams was sentenced in January to 13 years in prison.
On Wednesday, Johnson’s family and friends asked 6th Judicial District Judge Suzanne Carlson to impose the maximum sentence for what Deputy District Attorney Reid Stewart called “the most violent case” he’d ever worked as a prosecutor.
Jordan Moore, husband to Johnson’s daughter Megan Moore (no relation to Brian Moore), phoned into court to explain how the incident has taxed his wife’s health and tried their marriage.
“She has anxiety, panic attacks,” he said. “This has brought (our marriage) to the lowest point, damn near ruined it, and this anxiety is something I don’t know how to deal with.”
Megan Moore learned of her father’s death through a news report and identified Johnson’s body.
Johnson had previously lived with his daughter and son-in-law, but was kicked out after he had an alcoholic relapse, Jordan Moore said. The victim eventually roomed with Brian Moore at the Iron Horse, and he knew Ogsbury-Jones casually through work at a local gas station.
“I don’t know what would compel someone to do this,” Jordan Moore said. “I’ve hated people, but I would never inflict this kind of pain on anyone. I don’t think 35 years is enough.”
But Ogsbury-Jones’ public defender, John Moran, said the crux of the tragedy ran much deeper than marijuana plants, tying the shooting to Ogsbury-Jones’ Xanax abuse, racial discrimination, and the Durango Police Department’s failure to acknowledge the defendant’s fear of his former roommate.
“People get defensive when you talk about race in this country,” Moran said. “But the most unique factor in this case is that Tyree went to the police over and over, asking for help. What would this look like if it came from someone white?”
Brian Moore, Moran said, was no innocent, pointing to a “32-page rap sheet” that included accusations of domestic violence and theft. Brian Moore repeatedly sent messages to Ogsbury-Jones, threatening his life, which only aggravated the defendant’s anxiety, Moran said.
“If he (Ogsbury-Jones) had just been advised to get a restraining order, would we be here today?” he said.
Ogsbury-Jones’ family, occupying several court benches, described him as a caring, promising student and athlete, not realizing the extent of his anxiety and substance abuse.
“This has left us flabbergasted, broken-hearted and guilty that we didn’t seen how much he needed help,” said Tanya Iskra, Ogsbury-Jones’ aunt.
Through tears, Ogsbury-Jones apologized to Johnson’s family and friends, and repeated that he didn’t go to Moore’s and Johnson’s home to steal marijuana plants.
“I know how hard it is to forgive, because I can hardly forgive myself,” he said. “I take full responsibility. But they deserve to know the truth. The truth was, I was scared of Brian (Moore).”
But Carlson opted for the maximum sentence, reasoning that Johnson was the one who ultimately paid.
“I’ve heard today about race issues; I can’t solve society’s problems,” Carlson said. “I don’t know to what extent that contributed to this, but all of that applies to the person who’s not dead here.”